Most emergency situations require than individuals and families evacuate and seek shelter far away where it is safe. In some situations however, the safest place to be during the duration of the emergency is at home. In these situations, people should be prepared to be holed up with the supplies they will need to outlast the emergency situation.
When to Shelter in Place
As already stated, in most emergencies, people want to put some distance between themselves and the dangerous area. But in the case of a pandemic, or a chemical or biological attack, attempting to flee will only compound the problem as either infect one another or become contaminated by dangerous chemicals. In order to know when to evacuate and when to shelter in place, it’s important to remain as informed as possible by staying in tune to local authorities via news channels, the internet, or radio. If evacuation isn’t recommended, then the key to survival is going to be sheltering in place and creating a barrier between where you are and the outside world.
Sealing the Room
If you wait until the emergency arises, it’s likely you won’t have the materials needed to create the potentially life-saving barrier. So this is something that will require a little bit of preparation. You’ll need to have plenty of plastic sheeting that is 2-4 mil thick and a couple of rolls of duct tape. Have these items somewhere in the home and make sure everyone in the family knows where to find them. As soon as it becomes clear that evacuation is unsafe, you can begin the process of sealing your home.
First make sure all family members and pets are in the home. Lock all the doors, close and lock all the windows, shut all air vents, and close the fireplace dampers. The idea is to stop outside air from getting into your home. Next you’ll want to stop the circulation of air in the home by shutting off any fans, the air conditioning, and forced air heating systems. Next take your family and emergency supplies into an interior room with as few windows as possible. Make sure to include in your supplies games or other activities to pass the time as you could be holed up for several days.
Next you’ll want to seal off any windows or doors in the room. This is done by cutting out pieces of plastic sheeting that are just a few inches bigger than the windows and doors and duct taping them down. Start by duct taping the edges and then tape down all the edges. Ideally, the pieces of plastic sheeting should have already been cut out and labeled and been with the emergency supplies.
With all of this done, your family can safely wait out the emergency until local authorities tell you it is safe.